Composite deck railing, commonly known as Trex, TimberTech, Azek, Deckorators, or Durables, is the perfect and obvious compliment to a composite deck. Composite decks have taken the outdoor living industry by storm due to their longevity and low maintenance. As the technology has developed and more competitors have entered the market, composite decking materials have also come down in price. This makes composite decks increasingly attractive for most Colorado Springs homeowners. For more information on the pros and cons of different decking materials, including natural hardwood species and aluminum, you can read our article here.
Composite handrail follows the same premise as the composite decks they typically accompany. This railing, made of a blend of wood dust from sawmills and recycled plastic (or full synthetic PVC depending on the brand), is molded into virtually any dimensional lumber size and shape and comes in a wide variety of colors. The benefit of composite railing is that it lasts for a very long time and is basically maintenance free.
Compared to traditional wood decking, especially the safety of handrails, traditional boards and sections need to be repaired and replaced every few years. Most wood decking also needs to be power-washed and stained or painted once a year. This type of constant upkeep is pretty much non-existent with composite materials. Wood is a natural and porous material, and it absorbs water which leads to continual shrinking and swelling. Further, Colorado’s aggressive freeze and thaw cycle throughout spring and fall quickly destroys decking after a few seasons. One look at our roads will demonstrate the awesome force created by continual freezing and thawing.
Those coming from other regions of the country and have maintained decks in the past – California or Texas that rarely drops below freezing, or the Northeast with long, consistent winters – may underestimate the value of composite decking. We routinely hear, “I’ve owned a wood deck for 15 years without a problem – why would I spend more on composite?” Well, composite materials are made from resins and plastics and do not absorb water. This, in turn, does not subject the material to shrinking and swelling and is a massive convenience advantage for Colorado Springs homeowners.
Trex has been on the market the longest and is the most common brand used. They offer a variety of styles to suit just about any taste. Most utilize composite posts, top rails, and balusters – the same design found on most wood decks but instead the rail is built with composite materials.
Hybrid composite and steel / aluminum railing systems are becoming more common on custom mountain homes. This adds strength and typically allows sections to be run horizontally. This makes clearing and pushing heavy snow off of your deck easier without vertical balusters getting in the way. These systems are also usually visually stunning – they’re pronounced and provide a tangible feeling of quality when touched and admired.
Composite and cable railing systems are also becoming an attractive choice for decks with a view. The cabling system accounts for safety but minimally obstructs a picturesque view. This can be especially important for those regularly relaxing in a lower lounge chair. Cable systems give a contemporary look, but are typically less expensive and offer less maintenance (cleaning) than premier glass railing systems.
For the ultimate in luxury and retaining your view, composite and glass railing systems should be considered. These railings are beautiful, but they are expensive and require regular cleaning to keep the view looking nice. These systems are best suited to homes who regularly hire landscaping maintenance services and will include this cleaning within their upkeep package.
For any of the railing system mentioned above, it’s becoming increasingly common to add LED lighting. Whether it is a small fixture on each post, or inlaid strips along the bottom of rails, LED’s are becoming a relatively easy and cost-effective way of adding ambience and functional light to your outdoor living area. This small touch really takes the experience up a notch during the evenings, and with full color and dimming capabilities, you can customize the mood from a classy moonlit dinner to backyard party.
For most situations in the Colorado Springs area, we wholeheartedly recommend composite or metal railings. The longevity they offer, along with relatively no maintenance, is the best experience for our homeowners. With the ability to customize and tailor handrail specifically for your home and style, there’s no deck that we can’t compliment with our designs. Reach out today, and we’ll begin a free quote.